Life of Moses
A Reason to Sing!
Introduction… Why do people sing? Why do you sing? How well do you sing? Why sing over speaking or simply just saying something? Why is repetition so important in music? Does music or a song try to make or emphasize a point? What’s the point of one of your favorite songs? Why does it work for or connect with you?
One’s choice of musical expression says a lot about a person. I typically sing when I am happy, loose or carefree. When I catch myself singing, I know that I must really be relaxed, which sadly doesn’t seem to be the case very often. When I was young, in order to break up the monotony of driving a tractor at 3 mph, I would sing my head off, but as an adult.
Along with a catchy tune, here are some lyrics from a Louie Armstrong song that I rediscovered the other day…
I’ll take the legs from some old table
I’ll take the arms from some old chair
I’ll take the neck from some old bottle
And from a horse I’ll take the hair
I’ll take the hands and face from some old clock
And baby, when I’m through
I’ll get more loving from the dum, dum, dummy
Than I ever got from you
From the “Dummy Song.”
It’s now hard to get the song’s point here. The author could have just said very directly, Why are you loving me more? but instead by using the round about approach of creating a dummy to love him, which really can’t love him, the songwriter compares the dummy’s love for him to his beloved’s love for him, and the dummy wins.
In other words, she is not loving the songwriter as much as he wants, but writing a song about it, the songwriter makes a much more clever point that otherwise would not have grabbed our attention, nor be easily remembered—thus, music’s gift.
Finally, after ten incredible miracles, the children of Israel, witnessing an eleventh miracle–the destruction of the mighty Egyptian army—will have something to let loose musically about it. They are free…at least free from their Egyptian taskmasters. Regardless of the journey that lies ahead of them, the Israelites no longer need to watch their backs through their rearview mirrors. Egypt will no longer be pursuing them, and that is reason enough to sing.
Previous Lesson… In back-to-back displays of his magnificent and awe-inspiring glory, Yahweh God chooses to mercifully deliver a vulnerable Israel by utterly destroying a strong Egyptian military threat. Ex. 14:15ff.
General Overview…Exodus 1-14…
What were the devastating costs required for Yahweh God to redeem (buy back), his chosen people, the Children of Israel, via their miraculous Exodus (way out) from harsh Egyptian enslavement?
Moses makes 12 appearances before Pharaoh, with 39 mentions of Israel being “released” or “delivered” to celebrate a festival to Yahweh God in the desert. 7 times Yahweh accurately predicts to Moses that Pharaoh will not listen to Moses.
But in order to motivate Pharaoh to release his enslaving grip of Israel, Yahweh unleashes 10 pervasive and devastating curses upon Egypt. And 10 times the text clearly says that Yahweh God distinguishes between Israel and Egypt with respect to unleashing the plagues’ devastating affects upon Egypt.
Neither Pharaoh’s diviners nor his gods are any match for Yahweh’s mighty hand. In delivering Israel from Egypt, Yahweh God could be defeating as many as 118 Egyptian deities.
It is also interesting to note that Yahweh’s last and greatest curse against Egypt–the curse of Egypt’s firstborn–is not only painfully directed against the firstborn of both man and beast, but also “against all the gods of Egypt” (Ex. 12:12).
Under intense national pain and pressure, Pharaoh is finally and momentarily contrite 3x, while admitting his sin 2x and asking Moses 4x to prayerfully intercede on his behalf of Pharaoh. Once even, Pharaoh asks for forgiveness.
And in fact, 7x Pharaoh will declare that Israel can go and sacrifice (after plagues 2, 4, 7, 8, 9 [2x]; 10), but because of the hardening of his heart, Pharaoh will change his mind and recant his promise 4x. Of the 17 references to the “hardening” of Pharaoh’s heart. 9 references are attributed directly to Yahweh’s divine intervention, 6 are neutral occurrences, which could be inferred to as being attributed to Yahweh, and 3 more credit Pharaoh and his servants with the “hardening” of their own hearts.”
In addition, 4x Pharaoh unsuccessfully attempts to bargain with God or Moses so that not all of Israel may go and worship, but for God, there is no compromise. All of Israel must go. No one is to be left behind. No compromise. God will not bargain with nor share his glory with a earthly king who claims divinity.
The Big Picture…
Thus with one protracted drama, acted out on history’s grand stage, God reveals the painful, but obvious and clear truth concerning himself and his broken creatures–God is big; the creatures are small.
And though for a time, it may seem that the creature is capable of being or imitating God, when the creature attempts to play or challenge God, the creature is ultimately crushed by God himself—the Creator will not be robbed of his true glory–and those who chose to keep God…God, and man… man…or those that, through trust and obedience, ally themselves with their Creator, will not only be delivered or saved from the corruptness of other creatures attempting to rob God of his glory, but the righteous will also be rewarded for their trust in God, no matter what!
In other words, despite the temptation to only see life through the visible–but limited–salvation is recovered in a fallen, imperfect world via trusting the holy invisible Creator of the Universe!
Life is about faith…regardless of how man attempts to portray it…
Read the Passage two-three times…
Ask Questions (no answers)…
15:1 Then Moses
and the sons of Israel
sang this song to the Lord (Yah),
(Is this the men’s song?)
“I will sing to the Lord,
for He is highly exalted;
The horse and its rider
He has hurled into the sea.
(Later, the women will pick up this same catchy phrase and repeat it as well…)
2 “The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
This is my God,
and I will praise Him;
My father’s God,
and I will extol Him.
(Emotionally overwhelmed by God’s mighty deliverance, Moses bursts out into song to Yah.)
Pharaoh’s Army Engulfed by the Red Sea (1900 painting by Frederick Arthur Bridgman)
3 “The Lord is a warrior;
The Lord is His name.
(Yahweh is the warrior who brought about this massive victory…)
4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army
He has cast into the sea;
And the choicest of his officers
are drowned in the Red Sea.
5 “The deeps cover them;
They went down into the depths
like a stone.
6 “Your right hand, O Lord,
is majestic in power,
Your right hand, O Lord,
shatters the enemy.
7 “And in the greatness of Your excellence
You overthrow those who rise up against You;
You send forth Your burning anger,
and it consumes them as chaff.
(Herein lies the key to Egypt’s destruction—she foolishly dared to challenge Yahweh. God’s justice demands her destruction.)
8 “At the blast of Your nostrils
the waters were piled up,
The flowing waters stood up like a heap;
The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea.
(Congealed like ® Jello into a wall of water? Not literally, but metaphorically, Moses describes Yahweh, no doubt indignant concerning Pharaoh’s arrogance towards God’s might and reputation, angrily parting the sea by his mere breathing through his nostrils. Typically, the flaring of the nostrils, in order to take in more air, indicates an agitated excitement such as with extreme anger.)
9 “The enemy said,
‘I will pursue,
I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil;
My desire shall be gratified against them;
I will draw out my sword,
my hand will destroy them.’
(This will be one desire or sin that is not gratified. Is this not man’s typical response about everything? He who has the most weapons wins or dominates, so therefore, gain weapons and dominate in order to secure one’s safety, as opposed to entrusting one security to one’s Creator?)
3,600-year-old relics in Egyptian tombs and temples depict pharaohs and warriors proudly riding into battle on horse-drawn chariots. Some historians claim that the Egyptian chariot launched a technological and strategic revolution, and was the secret weapon behind Egypt’s greatest era of conquest known as the New Kingdom.
10 “You blew with Your wind,
the sea covered them;
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
11 “Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?
Who is like You,
majestic in holiness,
Awesome in praises,
12 “You stretched out Your right hand,
The earth swallowed them.
13 “In Your lovingkindness
You have led the people
whom You have redeemed;
In Your strength
You have guided them to Your holy habitation.
(Lovingkindness or loyal love or merciful loyalty is our Hebrew word checed, which contains both the elements of covenant loyalty and mercy or kindness. Checed has the idea of a being both loyal and merciful or merciful to those we are loyal to, such as a mother’s loyal love and mercy towards her child.)
14 “The peoples have heard,
they tremble; Anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia.
15 “Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed;
The leaders of Moab,
trembling grips them;
All the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.
16 “Terror and dread fall upon them;
By the greatness of Your arm
they are motionless as stone;
Until Your people pass over, O Lord,
Until the people pass over
whom You have purchased.
(Or by… and the nations will all ultimately be stilled as Israel retakes possession of her promised lands.)
17 “You will bring them
and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance,
The place, O Lord,
which You have made for Your dwelling,
The sanctuary, O Lord,
which Your hands have established.
(The mountain…Jerusalem or Zion?)
18 “The Lord shall reign forever and ever.”
19 For the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots
and his horsemen went into the sea,
and the Lord brought back the waters of the sea on them,
but the sons of Israel walked on dry land
through the midst of the sea.
(No one may challenge Yahweh’s authority to rule and reign. Pharaoh becomes the theorem.)
20 Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister,
took the timbrel in her hand,
and all the women went out after her
with timbrels and with dancing.
21 Miriam answered them,
“Sing to the Lord,
for He is highly exalted;
The horse and his rider
He has hurled into the sea.”
(All were rescued, both men and women, thus all praise God. Accompanied by the rest of the women’s dancing and playing of the timbrels, an enthusiastic Miriam, no doubt, sings out the refrain of Moses’ song.)
Who’s? Moses, Israelites, Yahweh God, the horse and rider, my father, Pharaoh, the choicest of his officers, enemy, those who rise up against You, who is like You among the gods, the people, the inhabitants of Philistia, the chiefs of Edom, the leaders of Moab, all the inhabitants of Canaan, Pharaoh’s horsemen, the sons of Israel, Miriam the prophetess and Moses and Aaron’s sister, all the women.
• After the sea’s previously divided waters return together once again, drowning Pharaoh’s mighty army, Moses and sons of Israel are inspired to sing to the glory of their Deliverer, Yahweh God.
• Their song begins with what will become a familiar refrain expressing the reason for their singing—the sing to their God’s glory for he hurled the horse and rider into the sea.
• The song goes on to describe how Yahweh who was their father’s God and Savior has now become, through his display of might, their God and Savior too. Regardless of how small it may be, the Israelites now own their feeble faith.
• Yahweh is a warrior God, capable of defeating the strongest of men and nations. He defeated the best of the best the world had to offer. He drowned them in the sea like they were stones. No one is able to stand up to or defy their God.
• As the enemy was arrogantly pursuing a seemingly defenseless Israel, God blew the waters back over Israel’s pursuers and they sank into the mighty waters like lead. Thus there is no other god like Yahweh. His holiness is not just holy, sacred or ritualistically or morally pure, it is majestic, genuine and real. His holiness is a holiness to be respected. His holiness is real because the holy, sacred and set apart Yahweh can also act in time and space to deliver his faithful.
• And because of this great miracle, You, Yahweh will be faithful to lead us to our fathers’ promised land, and in doing so, now both the hostile nations that we will face on our way there and the ones that currently occupy the land will tremble and be still, fearing what Yahweh God might do to them as he did to the Egyptians.
• This then will allow God to plant them in the land where they will worship Yahweh, not just in the desert, as originally intended when Moses was asking Pharaoh to release them, so that they may go and worship God in the desert, but within the midst of their own inheritance where Yahweh will reign forever. And this is all now possible because of what Yahweh has just done in destroying Pharaoh’s pursuing army.
• In response to the men’s song, the women, led by Miriam now take up the song’s familiar refrain.
Summary… Because of Yahweh God’s mighty deliverance, 1) he has become the sons and daughters of Israel’s God and Deliverer; 2) no other god, nation or king is able to stand up against his strength; 3) he is the preeminent Spiritual power over the universe; 4) he will crush all those who seek to defy or refuse to honor him; 5) he will not just deliver the sons and daughters of Israel from Egypt, but he will lead them through formerly hostile nations and 6) plant them in their fathers’ former lands, as he has promised 7) and where they will worship Yahweh in complete Spiritual freedom and security.
Bottom line… The sons and daughters of Israel sing out their praise to Yahweh because in what Yahweh God has just done in not only delivering Israel from utter annihilation at the hands of Pharaoh’s massive army, but in utterly annihilating Pharaoh’s army, Israel’s future, including her travel to and then being planted within her promised land is also secure.
Why’s? Why did God include this passage in his timeless word? Or What do I learn about God? Life? People? Myself?
• One of the reasons people are inspired to sing is because of something wonderful that they have just experienced, such as being rescued from utter annihilation. Not only are they momentarily safe, but the threat is gone, and that is a reason for singing. I suppose that is why we will sing in heaven—the threat is finally gone…the threat that we fight against everyday…the threat that absorbs much of our focus, effort, prayers and attention… the threat to our safety, security and joy. When that threat is gone, we will sing forever. And in fact, we sing today as a foreshadowed hope and promise of that moment—no longer threatened by Evil’s ever present, ever-lurking threat, deceit or harm.
• God is not just our fathers’ God, but our God. God is forever, and each generation, each person must discover him anew and for themselves. That is the human journey—is there a God? Who is he? Is he good? Does he rescue or protect? Is he strong? Can he be depended upon? Does he care about me and my generation? Is the relationship and its accompanying blessings that graced my fathers also extended to me? Each generation and person must discover their sovereign, loving, faithful, just and forever Creator for themselves—what a provocative and wondrous thought and experience!! I…we can’t live off of our parent’s or ancestor’s faith. We must all chose to worship and become faithful. Amazing that my Creator wants to offer me that relationship. I must be valuable in his eyes.
• That our God Yahweh is not just a holy, clean, ritualistically or morally pure and righteous deity that has no or little connection to his Creation or creatures, but he is a warrior. He is strong. He has strength and might. In other words, he is not just a figment of man’s religious imagination, but he acts; he moves; he delivers; he saves; he is true to his word; he is dependable; he is everything good, clean, pleasing and perfect. He is God. And that everything associated with good is God. God is not only strong, but he is good. Good strong, or strong good. What a God! What a Good!
• Because of who he is and what he has done, both in the past and in the present, I can and will entrust my future to him…my heart and soul, my faith and confidence…my rest…my trust, and that is a powerful truth, skill, weapon or tool to live this life by…a powerful one. Because he saved Israel; he defeated Pharaoh; he delivered the Children of Israel into the Promised Land; because he gave us salvation through his Son, Jesus; because he has empowered us with his Spirit within his community of believers, we are not alone, regardless of how dark things may appear. We have hope. If he fully delivered a weak Israel from the slavery in Egypt and placed them within their Promised Land, then surely, through his Son, he will do the same for me…for us. My future, our future is secure.
• This promise is not just for the seemingly stronger sex, but for both sexes. Both sexes are moved and both worship God.
So What’s? How does this truth personally apply to one of my life’s struggles?
Thanksgiving… Got to spend the week Spiritually checking on old family friends in my hometown, as well as, showing my wife a post-Katrina rebuilt New Orleans. Lots of good convo, seafood and touring antebellum homes in Mississippi and Louisiana.
The week was capped off by my having the honor of officiating, along with my Spiritual brother in Christ, Mike, the beautifully simple wedding ceremony of our Spiritual sister in Christ, Salli. It was a long time in coming—23 years for her and quite a few for her bridegroom, Brian. Both waited. Both grew in Christ, and in the process, at just the right time, Christ gave them to each other. It was simple, yet very beautiful moment. Christ was glorified by this word picture of his promised and imminent return for bride, the church.
Struggle… With my/our backs to the Red Sea as Pharaoh’s chariots cause the ground to tremble in fear, will and how will God tell me to lift my staff towards our sea of deliverance?
Truth… 1) God is our strength, and therefore, our song; 2) Yahweh saves is Yeshua in Hebrew; its Greek transliteration is Jesus. Yahweh’s miraculous deliverance of the children of Israel (one who strives with God) from Egyptian slavery and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army, no doubt foreshadows Jesus’ deliverance of his church from sin’s enslavement and the destruction of sin and evil. As Israel was redeemed from Egyptian slavery at the cost of the firstborn, we have been redeemed from sin at the cost of God’s firstborn. As Israel will be planted in their Promised Land, we too will be planted in our Promised Land, the Kingdom of God, someday. As God brought Israel to and through the desert and entered into a covenant with her, so God, through his Son has entered into a covenant with his church, and via his Spirit, he is bringing his bride to her ultimate glorious destiny at the eternal Lamb of God’s wedding supper.
Application… Like the fearful children of Israel, why do I get so caught up in the moment, fearing Pharaoh and his momentary pseudo-power? At first glance or instinct, it would seem ridiculous to clearly see the Red Sea to my back and Pharaoh’s chariots in full, vicious pursuit and think—NO BIG DEAL!
Are you kidding me? From earth, it seems A BIG DEAL!
So how does one stay calm? How does one, seemingly and foolishly, by the world’s standards, dare to scoff at dire circumstances and say to oneself, this is no big deal for Yahweh God? This is no big deal for the Son and the Spirit? And therefore, this is NOT going to be a big deal for me? I mean, it is not natural to think or act this way, is it?
And yet, that’s what the Creator expects…Trust me. I am here. I will not fail those who trust in me! I can and will save. I can and will deliver, even if, seemingly not in this life, such as from terminal cancer or Christians being burned at the stake! Do you believe? Do you trust? Am I God? Do I really exist? Am I there? Do I care? Am I alive? Did I create? Do I love? Did I love by giving the world my son as an atonement from the penalty of my sin…my spiritual disobedience…my imperfection, my spiritual rebellion? Am I saved? Am I delivered, not only from my own sin’s consequences, but from the consequences of others’ sins? Others’ evil? From evil? From harm? From destruction? Because I believe, I trust, I worship, I obey, I learn, I love, I hope, I die to self and live to God, will the Creator of Heaven take notice of me and my situation and be favorably disposed to me and my trying situation?
That is the divine-human drama, saga and story. To trust or not to trust? To wait or not to wait? To do or not to do? To rest or not to rest? It is so unnatural, but so right, so divine, so God, so not-man, not human, but of God, of the Spirit of God? This is our story, our message, our mission. To stand at the Red Sea, our sea of deliverance while the earth rumbles under the hooves of the horses of Pharaoh’s pursuing chariots! Why? Because the sea is about to part, for our deliverance and our enemy’s destruction, and when that moment is complete, we will sing as Israel sang, Yahweh is my strength and my song.
What about you? Struggle? Truth? Application?
Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968,1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.” (www.Lockman.org).